Madras Review

by Sai Shyam G

With all due respect to the veteran directors, director Pa Ranjith’s Madras has now announced that the next-generation filmmakers have taken over the industry and we can expect movies that will make us proud from them. Having apprenticed under Venkat Prabhu, Ranjith made his debut with runaway hit Attakathi. While his debut film was a complete comedy entertainer, his second film Madras is an intense thriller set at North Madras.


The movie’s central character is a wall. Yes, you read it right, ‘a wall’. How two different groups fight to take ownership of that wall forms the main plot, apart from a heat-warming friendship sub-plot and an adorable love track between the lead pair.


This could be termed as Karthi’s best performance after his debut film Paruthiveeran. If Karthi can emote this well in intense sequences, wonder why he was doing so-called uninspiring comedy entertainers. Karthi scores in almost every scene, be it a casual ‘pulling the leg of a friend’ sequence, or an intense fight sequence, or a scene when he has to break down, or when he tries to woo his girl, he has literally not put a foot wrong in the film. Kalaiarasan (Anbu), who plays Karthi’s friend, is amazing in his role. He plays a second fiddle to Karthi in the movie and he elevates the crucial scenes in the film.

Catherine Tresa is quite good in her role, and a major credit should go to the director for using her pretty well in the film. She does not appear as a regular commercial heroine, but she plays a vital role in taking the movie forward. The rest of the supporting actors (especially the person who plays Johnny), who are mostly newcomers, chip in with adequate performances.


Music director Santhosh Narayanan is nothing less than a genius. His songs, his haunting background score and the meaningful pauses he leaves testify this statement. I have not seen a more effortless music director, whose music blends seamlessly into the narration.

Murali’s cinematography is quite handy, as most part of the movie is shot during nights and there are few interesting shots as well, like the one in which Karthi’s shadow grows larger than him. Praveen KL’s editing is top-notch, which makes this 2.5 hour film intense and uniformly paced throughout. Special credits to him for the interesting cuts in the ‘Naan Nee’ song.

Direction – Pa Ranjith

Frankly speaking, Ranjith wasn’t expected to come up with such a hard-hitting film, after making his debut with Attakathi. He could have easily made another enjoyable rom-com, but he has chosen to give a realistic and memorable film, and he has won decisively in his attempt.

It is quite astonishing to notice that he has such an eye for detail, right from characterization and naming his characters. For instance, he names his protagonist as ‘Kaali’, who gets furious when slightly provoked and his friend as ‘Anbu’, who can do anything for his friend. A character named Johnny in the film is quite interestingly etched out, and I believe that the director wanted the audience to relate to that character and travel throughout the film. When the protagonist runs for his life, he halts for a second, and hurls a stone against the wall that is the root-cause of the problems, and instantly, the audience roars.

The movie is intense throughout and the dialogues are quite relatable. There is an undercurrent of humour throughout the film, which could also be a reflection of the way North Madras people react to difficult situations. The interval fight sequence is electrifying and it will definitely be rated as one of the best intermission blocks in Tamil films. The romantic sequences between the lead pair are so natural and poignant, that they will make you fall in love with. On the flip side, the second half has some long and slightly wandering sequences, which could have been shortened.

Written by Sai Shyam G |